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Tarte Tatin - French Apple Tart

Introduction & method

This tart was invented in the 1880s by sisters Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin at their hotel south of Paris. Caramelised apples are cooked under a pastry lid which then becomes the base when it is flipped over for serving.

Tarte Tatin - French Apple Tart Recipe

Make the Pastry

If you prefer not to make your own pastry, I recommend you buy shortcrust rather than puff or flaky. If making your own, you can use all butter if lard is a problem. The butter and lard need to be cold and cut into small cubes for ease of working. Mix the salt into the flour, then rub in the butter and lard with your fingertips. Keep rubbing until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. You can do this in a stand mixer and it will take 5-10 minutes. Slowly mix in water - just enough to make the dough come together in a ball. Tip the dough out, wrap in plastic film and place in the fridge to rest for an hour.

Prep the Apples

Peel and core half of the apples. Cut them into 1cm (about half an inch) chunks. Place them in a bowl and drizzle them with lemon juice to stop them going brown. Core the remaining apples and thinly slice them into half moons - add to the bowl and drizzle more lemon juice.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan or skillet. Add the apples and stir to get them all coated then sprinkle on the sugar. Cook gently for about 5 minutes until the apples are slightly softened then remove from heat and allow to cool.

Make the Caramel Sauce

Mix together the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring it to the boil. You may swirl the mixture if you like, but do not stir it or it may crystallise. When it's boiling, reduce the heat somewhat and continue cooking until it begins to turn pale gold and gives off a faint caramel aroma. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. The butter will melt more quickly if you slice it up. Warning: the caramel will be extremely hot so resist the urge to taste it!

Assemble the Tart

Remove the dough from the fridge. Find a suitable cake tin to make your tart in. Mine was 18cm (7 inch) diameter but it had a completely loose bottom (not like a springform bottom) and so I rolled out a sausage of pastry to line the inner bottom edge of the tin to stop leakage of caramel and juices. Sprinkle flour on your worktop and roll out a disc of pastry the same diameter as the tin. It'll be quite thick - about 1 centimetre (half an inch) is fine. Set it aside.
Pour about half of the caramel into the tin. Arrange the half-moon apple slices like a fan around the outer edge of the tin - overlap the slices slightly. Arrange more half-moons to fill the inner circle and then pile on the remaining apple chunks. Pour the rest of the caramel over the apple, then lay the pastry top over it. Gently poke the edge of the pastry down inside the rim.

Bake the Tart

Heat your oven to 180°C (356°F) for a fan/convection oven or airfryer, 200°C (392°F) conventional, gas 6. Bake the tart for 25 minutes or so. The top should be golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Place an upturned plate over the tin. Using heatproof gloves or pads, grab the plate and the tarte tin and quickly flip them over. Hold your breath, cross your fingers and lift the tin off. Serve the tart warm with chantilly cream or ice cream.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Tarte Tatin - French Apple Tart on YouTube.

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Ingredients & Info

 225 grams plain (all-purpose) flour
 100 grams unsalted butter
 25 grams lard
 half a tsp salt
 100 ml cold water
 500 grams Granny Smith apples
 1 tbsp lemon juice
 25 grams unsalted butter
 1 tbsp granulated sugar
 200 grams granulated sugar
 100 ml water
 100 grams unsalted butter

US Customary/Imperial

Makes  1 x 18cm (7 inch) tart
Prep time: 20 minutes.
Resting time: 1 hour.
Cooking time: 45 minutes.
Total time: 2 hours 5 minutes.